04Jul Against All Odds – A Wonderful Customer Experience From Phil Collins!

Almost 40 years ago (June 1978) as a precocious 15 year old I ventured to the Knebworth Festival to watch my favourite band, Genesis live in concert (Genesis, for you ‘trendy youngsters’ were a popular progressive rock combo who did 23 minute epic songs with tales about ‘the other world’ in the olden days). It was an amazing experience in terms of the performance, but the event itself left a lot to be desired…. 60,000 people, long queues, rubbish food, awful beer (not that I was a particular expert in those days!), average sound, and a long, long wait to get out. All in all, a very ‘average’ customer experience – although to be fair, it was probably very good for the day.

Jump ahead those 40 years and after many Genesis concerts later – although unfortunately, none since Twickenham 2007 – we went to see Phil Collins (again, for the youngsters, he was the lead singer) perform at Hyde Park’s British Summer Time last Friday. It was a wonderful customer experience from arrival to going home and there are some clear messages for anyone (and everyone!) in business:

Customer Experience Lesson 1: The Welcome:

We arrived at Hyde Park Tube Station to be greeted by a lovely sign that welcomed us with lots of ‘puns’ and plays on Phil Collins songs including “As usual, Hyde Park will be Another Day In Paradise – it certainly made us smile and ‘set the tone’ for the day….

The security staff on the gate were incredibly welcoming too and made entry into Hyde Park easy and pain free (experience suggests at events like this, that’s not always the case!). They did everything they could to ensure that it wasn’t a Land Of Confusion!


Customer Experience Lesson 2: Be Easy To Buy From And Deal With:

Stalls with a wide selection of lovely foods from all over the world were on hand to cater for a real cross section of tastes and these were supported by a great craft beer stall. A real positive was that there were lots of staff on hand to serve the beer and dedicated staff whose job it was was to take payment – they had special t-shirts to tell you that so that you didn’t think that they were ignoring you! The added bonus to an ‘easy to buy from’ customer experience was the ‘contactless’ payment system (the whole event was sponsored by Barclaycard) making the whole thing swift and pain free (apart from the fancy London prices for beer!)

Even nipping to the toilet (after all that beer!) was a pain free experience with staff on hand to give directions, manage the fences and gates to keep the queues to a minimum.


(Here’s a free toolkit to download to help you find out your True Colours!)

Customer Experience Lesson 3: Manage Customer Expectations

My experience at events like this when there are a number of acts on, means that you never seem to know what’s happening when, and whether things are ‘on schedule’. At Hyde Park we had electric signs informing us of the schedule and times for each artiste – it was a great example of managing expectations.

It’s simple stuff, but so many businesses say nothing, or even worse, over promise and under deliver! The result is that they Miss Again!


Customer Experience Lesson 4: Delight Your Customers!

This is all about ‘exceeding’ customer experiences and Phil and his band did that brilliantly. OK, I might be biased after all those years, but I did have high expectations and he certainly ‘delivered’ – as did the support team of Blondie and Mike And The Mechanics.

The point of this is that your ‘core offer’ has to be right in the first place. It’s no good doing all these ‘nice things’ if your core product or service isn’t right – in fact, that’s a sure fire way to wind up your customers and says I Just Don’t Care Anymore!


So, to conclude…. It was a great customer experience that had…

  • A ‘core offer’ that customers wanted and valued
  • EVERYONE ‘on board’ at every level who were empowered to deliver it
  • Effective Systems and processes that enabled them to do it!

Do that and it will mean that as a customer I Can’t Stop Loving You, You’ll Be In My Heart and Leaving You Won’t Be Easy!

That’s Just The Way It Is……

OK… That’s All!

Creating Delighted And Devoted Customers is Characteristic #3 Of 3D Businesses.

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19Jun Andy’s 3D Thoughts 19th June

3D ThoughtsWho are the customer service heroes in your business? This week’s 3 iDeas highlight 3 ‘Customer Service Heroes’ I have come across in the last couple of days. They offered a Dramatically and Demonstrably Different approach to looking after their customers and there are lessons in there for anyone wanting to differentiate their business and get ahead of their competitors through brilliant customer service.

As ever, there’s no need to download anything! Just click on the icon below, listen and then DO something!

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12Jun Andy’s 3D Thoughts 12th June

3D ThoughtsWhat marketing lessons can you and your business learn from Theresa May? This week’s 3 iDeas highlight 6 ‘Mayketing’ lessons from her election campaign! From showing your customers ‘you care’, establishing what you stand for and targeting the right customers, it’s all about being Dramatically and Demonstrably Different or not! There are lessons in there for anyone wanting to differentiate their business and get ahead of their competitors.

As ever, there’s no need to download anything! Just click on the icon below, listen and then DO something!

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12Jun 6 Marketing Lessons From Theresa May’s Election Campaign

So, the election’s over… well, for now anyway! It’s certainly been an interesting one, and regardless of the result (or lack of one!), what are the lessons for business?

Well, last year I wrote about the marketing lessons from Donald Trump and my fear that he’d read my book – I think it’s safe to say that Theresa May hasn’t! And before you say ‘yes, but Andy, she won’, the business analogy for me is that this is like a business that was totally dominating its marketplace with very little competition, but has just lost big chunks of that market, and has created a lot of uncertainty…. for themselves and for their ‘customers’.

So, here goes, with marketing lessons from Theresa May – we could even call them ‘Mayketing’ Lessons!

Mayketing Lesson 1: Never Take Your Customers For Granted

I can’t help thinking that like many business leaders, Teresa May and her team assumed that their customers would simply come back just like before…. and not all of them did! Was this them being too much in their ‘comfort zone’ or simply arrogance? Whatever, it gave the impression to some that she didn’t care.

Question: How do you make your customers feel valued?

Mayketing Lesson 2: Be Clear About Your ‘Offer’

3D Businesses establish a Dramatic Difference – that’s ‘an unmatchable bundle of products, services, skills, methods and practices that differentiate a business from its competitors’ and there didn’t seem to be one. ‘Dramatic Differences’ don’t happen by chance and 3D Businesses proactively develop their Dramatic Difference in the areas that their customers say are important! They do not put time and effort into telling everyone how bad their competitors are, which is what appeared to be Theresa’s approach.

This might be linked to lesson 1, but the lack of a real vision that people could ‘buy in to’ (apart from bringing back fox hunting!) and a willingness to chop and change things quickly and easily gave the impression that things hadn’t been thought through. There seemed to be a lack of a clear offer to customers, and some would argue that this offer changed too often. It reminded me of Woolworths in its final years – there was a fondness about the ‘brand’ but you weren’t quite sure what it was there for!

Question: What’s your ‘Dramatic Difference’ and how do you ‘Demonstrate’ it?

Mayketing Lesson 3: Identify And Target Customer Opportunities

‘Segmentation’ is a key element of effective marketing and this is about identifying opportunities within specific customer groups, establishing what they need, and tailoring the right messages to them. 3D Businesses have a clear focus on the sorts of customers they want to work with and focus their sales and marketing efforts and resources on these customers! They identify and ‘choose’ the customers they want to work with, and differentiate themselves in their chosen markets.  This election saw a record 1.05 million 18 to 24 year-olds register to vote during the campaign, and it looks as if The Conservatives did not recognise the potential power of this group – Jeremy Corbyn’s team definitely did and as a result, won over two-thirds of those new voters.

Question: Who are your ‘target’ customers… are there any specific groups that offer potential opportunities for you?

Mayketing Lesson 4: The Old Methods Don’t Necessarily Work

Very much linked to this is the fact that the vast majority of these young voters do not read the Daily Mail, Daily Express or The Sun, so as a result, the messages that came from these sources fell on many deaf ears. In fact, the research shows that many of the social media outputs often highlighted and derided the ‘headlines’ they produced. The Labour Party actively used social media to target the younger generation – for example, a one minute Facebook video ‘Tory Britain 2030’ which painted a very scary picture of what that could look like attracted over 7.5 million views.

A great example of focusing on these ‘niche markets’ and tailoring the messages to them was the targeting of the younger generation via ‘Grime’ artists like ‘Stormzy’ (look him up you ‘old uns’!) who actively encouraged young voters to get out there and vote.

Now, I’m not suggesting that Theresa should have been ‘down there with the kids’, but they did seem to be focusing their marketing efforts just on the ‘traditional’ ways – and clearly, the ‘traditional’ methods were still powerful with the more ‘traditional’ voters (customers), but it’s all about getting the ‘mix’ right!

Question: How do you focus your marketing efforts on the ‘right’ customers in a way that works for them?

Mayketing Lesson 5: People Buy From People They Like And Trust

Politics, whether we like it or not, is not just about policies – it’s also very much about people and ‘personality’. Like business, we buy from people and businesses that we like and trust and 3D Businesses consciously proactively build ‘trust’ with their customers and prospective customers by what they say and what they do.  Theresa May told us on many, many occasions that there would not be an election and then surprised us (and many of her colleagues apparently) by saying there was! I can’t help thinking this is a bit like Ronseal saying ‘Actually, we’ve changed our minds, it doesn’t really do what it says on the tin’!

She then had lots of opportunities to Demonstrate who she is and what she stands for, and apart from us knowing that she doesn’t put the bins out, and she once very naughtily walked through a wheat field, we didn’t really get to understand what she actually stood for. For someone who really made herself personally the prime focus of the campaign, I can’t help thinking that she didn’t get this across at all. If she was the Dramatic Difference, she failed to Demonstrate it.

Corbyn, admittedly starting from a very low position, seemed far more effective at doing this – to be fair, with expectations from many being very low, it was perhaps easier for him to exceed them! (Not unlike a newcomer to a market that’s challenging the dominant player).

Question: How do you build and reinforce ‘trust’ with your customers and prospects?

And finally….

Mayketing Lesson 6: Show Up!

Actions speak louder than words, and Theresa May’s unwillingness to appear in the ‘debates’ appeared to reinforce all the things above to many (particularly those who weren’t too sure about her). It could have been a great opportunity to differentiate herself and explain what she really stood for, but she ‘opted out’ and as a result created great opportunities for her opponents.

It’s all about ‘being there’ – when and where your customers expect to see you.

Question: How do you reinforce who you are and what you stand for?

In conclusion… our definition of marketing is ‘Proactively finding, attracting and keeping the customers you want while maximising your profits’ and although Theresa May wasn’t focused on ‘maximising profits’, she was (or should have been) focused on ‘achieving votes and seats’. She seemed to get that wrong.

As a result, she’s got to now focus on building a team of committed, motivated and effective people – that might be another blog post in the future: ‘Mayximising’ Team Performance!

In the meantime, I’m sending a copy of my book to Number 10 (quickly, as I don’t want Boris to read it!)

What are you doing to ensure that you are ‘marketing’, not ‘mayketing’?

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05Jun Andy’s 3D Thoughts 6th June

3D ThoughtsWhat can you and your business learn from Ariana Grande? This week’s 3 iDeas highlight 7 lessons from the 23 year old and her One Love Manchester show! From establishing a clear vision that ‘stimulated, excited and inspired’ to ‘delighting’ her customers and building innovatiOn into everything she did, she highlighted The 7 Characteristics of Dramatically and Demonstrably Different Businesses and there are some clear lessons in their for anyone in business!

As ever, there’s no need to download anything! Just click on the icon below, listen and then DO something!

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05Jun Ariana Grande Demonstrates She’s A Real 3D Thinker

Ariana Grande’s performance at the spectacular One Love Manchester show yesterday taught me a few things. First of all, I’m getting old and didn’t know who quite a few of the artistes were, secondly, the power of a 23 year old woman with a vision for what she wants is incredibly strong, and thirdly, Little Mix are quite good!

I also think there are some real lessons there for anyone who is running, or is in, a business. The whole event showed all 7 Characteristics that our research has identified that we see in Dramatically and Demonstrably Different Businesses.

Here they are….

3D Characteristic #1: Get That Vision Thing!

Ariana established a clear picture of what she wanted that ‘stimulated, excited and inspired’ and she got people ‘on board’…. all in around a week! People of all ages (even old ‘uns like Chris Martin of Coldplay!) ‘bought in’ to the vision and got involved, and ‘delivered’ – that’s leadership in action.

3D Characteristic #2: Think in 3D!

The whole event totally reflected our definition of a ‘Dramatic Difference’ as  “An unmatchable ‘bundle’ of products, services, skills, methods and practices that differentiate a business from its competitors”.  The ‘mix’ of performers, the nature of the audience, the ‘circumstances’ for the event created a unique event. A great source of ‘Dramatic Difference’ is to ‘Break The Rules and Set The Rules’ and it’s clear that many of the performers went out of their way to stand against those who wished things like this didn’t happen. There seemed to be a defiance that said ‘we’re making a stand for young women everywhere’ and that as young successful women ‘we do and dress how we want’ – the exact thing the extremists don’t want. That’s ‘Demonstrating’ your ‘Dramatic Difference’!

3D Characteristic #3: Create Delighted And Devoted Customers

This is all about ‘delighting’ customers by exceeding their expectations and providing something that surprises and pleases them…. that was Liam Gallagher! Bringing one of Manchester’s own along completely exceeded our expectations… although, by definition, exceeding expectations does raise them for next time…. I can’t help but think I wasn’t the only one wondering whether Noel going to turn up! The performances consistently ‘exceeded expectations’ (admittedly as ‘an old git’, mine might not have been that high!) and the whole ‘feel good’ atmosphere was a ‘delight’.

3D Characteristic #4: Forget CRM, Think MCR! Maximise Customer Relationships

3D Businesses ‘give the best to, and get the best from, their customers’. They proactively give the best to their customers by providing fantastic customer experiences, but they also get the best from them in terms of things like maximising financial returns, repeat business and referrals. As well as delivering a great performance, the event has raised in excess of £10 million with £2 million being donated during the 3 hours of the concert through text and online pledges – THAT’s maximising relationships!

3D Characteristic #5: Create An UBER Culture

Culture is the ‘way we do things around here’ and it’s established by the leaders of a business and lived by all. Ariana led this from the front with a message of ‘One Love’ and you could see it in her performance, and the collaboration… whether that was with Miley Sirus, the choir from Parrs Wood School or the stunning performance of ‘Don’t Look Back In Anger’ with Cold Play…. and the 50,000 people in audience. ‘Culture’ is what you as a customer see, feel and experience, and the sight of a policeman dancing in a circle with half a dozen young girls in the audience was a wonderful site that completely reflected this.

3D Characteristic #6: KeeP In Control

This is all about having a ‘profit focus’ and ensuring that you are ‘keeping score’. A ‘key indicator’ here was the money being raised and regular updates of how this was doing was there for all to see. Another key one was ‘keeping to time’ and delivering within the time frames allotted – they seemed to do that well considering all those ‘egos’ in one place and the possible temptation to ‘stay on stage’ – We’re back to ‘culture’!

3D Characteristic #7: InnovatiON

Our definition of ‘Innovation’ is ‘the successful exploitation of new ideas’ and 3D Businesses build this into the way they do things. It’s about leadership, it’s about processes and it’s about creating a climate to make it happen. This event demonstrated that in everything that it did – from the original inception to the spectacular effects on stage (Coldplay particularly)… and it all happened in 7 days. Now, that’s innovation in ACTION!

So, you’re not Ariana, you’re not Robbie Williams and you’re not Nial from One Direction, but here are some questions for you and your business..

1: Do you have a clear vision that ‘stimulates, excites and inspires’? (you, and others?)

2: What is your ‘Dramatic Difference’ and do you and your people ‘Demonstrate’ it in everything you do?

3: What do you do to ‘Delight’ your customers….. consistently?

4: How good are you and your business at maximising relationships and opportunities with your customers – are you bombarded with repeat business and referrals?

5: How effective are you at establishing (and living) your culture to create real competitive advantage?

6: How ‘in control’ are you in your business – are you measuring (and managing) the right things?

7: How effective are you at ‘successfully exploiting new ideas’ and making innovatiON work?

Think in 3d eBookIf you’d like to find out more about 3D Businesses, you can click to download a 24 page FREE E-BOOK here or BUY THE ACTUAL BOOK from Amazon.

In the meantime, in the wise words of an old hero, Liam Gallagher… ‘Don’t Look Back In Anger’, through to Chris Martin, please do all you can to ‘Fix You’ through to some wonderful words of wisdom from my new heroine Ariana…Go on, ‘Break Free’!

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